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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  May 23, 2011 6:00am-8:00am PDT

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time. >> bottom of four, big poppy's up, ortiz smacks his 300th home run. check it out. >> boom, big poppy, going deep -- who's back there -- >> unbelievable! >> behind the fence, john king! there he is. jk usa pulling it in. >> look at him, he's holding his hand as if he hurt it a little bit. he smacked that home run. >> nice. john sent the ball down to big poppy and the slugger sent it back up with this cool autographed bat in return, with the words, "thanks!" how cool! >> if i'm john king, i'm buying a lottery ticket today. >> the only thing that ever happened to me, i got hit with a buck at an eerie otters/bam, right in the -- torso, let's say. >> glad you survived. >> that's going to wrap it up
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for us, as we pine away for john king's 300th home run. >> carol, can you believe that? he caught that thing, right place, right time, a little bit of talent. >> i got hit in the head with a foul ball once, but never caught one. >> so that explains it! >> exactly! >> i'm kidding, carol, good to see you. >> have a great day, thank you so much. good morning to you. it's the heart of tornado alley. you know what i'm talking about this morning. the devastation in joplin, missouri, is shocking. take a look at why. >> my gosh. oh, my gosh! there it is. >> it was massive. at least 89 people are now confirmed dead. the death toll is expected to grow as crews pick through the wreckage. as much as 30% of the city of joplin damaged or destroyed. that includes some 2,000 homes and businesses. one of those, the st. john's regional medical center, that's in the heart of town, triage centers were set up outside to treat the crush of victims.
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those are the terrible facts. it is difficult to describe the terror people felt. what you're about to hear is a group of people at the convenience store as the tornado hit. they're huddled together, they're praying. much of this video is dark, but listen. [ wind blowing ] >> oh, my god! >> i can't -- >> everybody -- >> oh, god! >> oh, dear -- >> oh, heavenly father, jesus! jesus! >> we're good.
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we're good. we're good. >> oh, my god! >> we're okay! we're okay! >> jesus! [ wind blowing ] >> jesus! jesus! jesus! oh, heavenly father! jesus, jesus, jesus! >> i love everyone, man. >> we're going to be okay! >> i love you. >> jesus, jesus, jesus. heavenly father. thank you, jesus. >> we're going to be okay! >> stay down!
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>> everybody just stay down. >> is everyone okay! >> right here! i'm okay! >> i'm trying not to lay on someone. >> somebody's on my back. >> that's unbelievable. they all survived. and i know it's cliche, but the people in that convenience store, they were lucky. look at what the tornado left behind. mangled homes and stores, it also destroyed a home depot, a hospital, a high school. brian todd is outside the st. john's hospital. we're talking about those mangled cars, right outside the st. john's regional medical center. i can't believe they were able to evacuate those hospital and they saved most of the people inside, they saved their lives. >> reporter: they did evacuate everyone, carol. they say that, but they do not give us a specific count of the casualties from it. so that may be information that we get later. you can see where our photo journalist, john person, is panning to your left.
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and you can see now the facade of this medical center, the windows taken out, the top sheared off. total devastation here. we're told that x-rays from this facility were found 70 miles away in dade county, missouri. it's just unbelievable. we saw gurneys from the hospital about five blocks down the road here. it gives you a sense of the devastation. i'm with one of the survivors. reverend c.j. campbell. his house was completely destroyed on sunday when the tornado hit. you were there with your foster sister. describe what happened when it came in. >> well, first we had the initial warning. the tornado sirens went off about 20 minutes early. and then again about 10 minutes before it hit. it hit here at st. john's regional medical center on the west side of joplin metroplex about 5:45. it hit our house about three miles to the east, about 5:55. it was traveling very slowly, but it had f-4 force, up to
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about 200 miles per hour, that evil monster vortex. and my foster sister and i were completely surrounded by a collapsed 1,800 square foot house within 60 seconds. >> reporter: you had a description of what that felt like. i mean, it was amazing. >> first began the low roar in the distance, and then it got louder and louder, until it sounded like about 50 semi trailer trucks fully laden, going about 70 miles an hour, about 10 feet outside the front door. the floor began to vibrate. and then shake very violently. and seemingly buckle, and we thought we were going to be sucked up the chimney. >> reporter: how do you feel, standing here right now after that? >> i feel grateful to be talking to you by the grace of god, brian.
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>> reporter: good luck, reverend, to you and your sister. thanks for joining us. reverend campbell gave me some good advice a moment ago, carol. he said, if another one comes, which it might, find a dry hole, get in it, and he said, don't pop your head out of your shelter if it gets calm. you might actually be in the vortex of the tornado. you'll have to wait it out, wait several minutes for it to happen. you saw what happened in that video there. you've got to really hunker down. good advice now. we've got dark clouds building, some lightning here, some thunder, people here are getting a little nervous, carol. >> and the danger is the flying debris. it doesn't take much wind to whip that up right now. >> reporter: absolutely not. and there is a ton of debris just in the immediate area around us. there's debris all over the place. also, some real danger that officials a warning about for people going back to their homes or trying to. trying to pick through what's left of their homes, there are gas leaks, downed power lines, it's a very dangerous situation in this city still. >> brian todd reporting live
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from joplin, missouri. the missouri governor jay nixon has rolled out the national guard to help with the search and rescue mission. and earlier on cnn's "american morning," he stressed, the danger is not over. >> with the gas lines that have been broken, fires have been breaking out all night. we do have -- the good sign is we have sufficient water pressure for firefighting, so firefighters are able to deal with those issues. but we're going block by block, and the lack of power, it's a very, very precarious situation. folks should allow the professionals that are coming in to assist to get a full sweep there. like i say, we stand ready to put additional guard boots on the ground if necessary. >> and stick around. in about a half hour, i'll talk live to the missouri governor you just heard, jay nixon. he'll bring us up to date on the latest numbers, and they're still searching for survivors. joplin has a population of 49,000. witnesses tell us the twister was a half to three quarters of
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a mile wide. meteorologist alexandra steel is here. this was so much more devastating, because it hit this populated area. how unusual is that? >> it's really not that unusual, but also kind of in the big picture, when you think of a tornado, it is infinitesimal, so the odds of it hitting any area are really quite rare, as you can imagine. but a big city, we have certainly seen, and of course, 50,000 in joplin, but joplin has seen tornadoes in the past. but this year, extraordinarily, it's hit some big cities. remember, of course, just last week, tuscaloosa, on april 27th, and we're talking over 300 people in alabama killed. and really, that's what's so monumental about what we've seen so far this year. especially, of course, looking back to the 1970s, where we had hundreds killed with the tornado outbreak. but in the early '90s with doppler radar, you can see the inside of a tornado. so to see in this day and age that kind of death and destruction is really so rare. st. louis, missouri, you remember, of course, in the end of april, the 22nd, the airport there. raleigh, north carolina, april
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16th. so some big cities most certainly have been hit. certainly bigger than we've seen. in the past, in huntsville, alabama, in 2010. minneapolis, not only yesterday, but in 2009. shreveport in 2009. and of course, you all remember atlanta, georgia, in 2008. those certainly hit downtown, of course, right here at the cnn center. so what's most miraculous is this area that has been hit, has been hit before, carol. but when you think of the size of a tornado, it really being so small, kind of pinpointing any area is difficult. so be it a big city or a small place out in the middle of the country where no one is, you can have an awful lot of tornados, but it only takes one in a population center that really makes an impact. >> because i think that this spring has been so awful for so many people in parts of the country, they're thinking to themselves, where this is a strange year, and so many more tornadoes are touching down. and the size of the tornadoes, it's, enormous. is that unusual? >> it is a little bit unusual, but also what's unusual, when
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you talk about the over 300 people that were killed only last month alone with that one outbreak. and you would think in this day and age, of course, with 13-minute lead times people have for tornado warnings, and also, of course, early warning signals, but also meteorologists, a week in advance, just two weeks ago knew what was happening with these tornadoes and put out press releases, certainly, that tornadoes were coming. the fact that we have such lead time, it's amazing that the number of people that have died have died with the lead times we're seeing. so different from 20 years ago. >> i'm just thinking in joplin, for example, they supposedly got 20 minutes, they got a 20-minute warning. but if i'm shopping at home depot or at walmart and i don't happen to hear that, that's really scary. and how can you react? >> that's right. and one of the walmarts certainly was hit. and when you see these cars that were leveled, helicopters that were blown, homes completely destroyed, it really is unbelievable. so i guess the key is, a few days in advance, certainly, this is what happened in. joplin, we knew severe storms potentially were coming.
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really on the hole in this day and age, you know when severe storms this intense are brewing days in advance, if not a week in advance, which we knew a few weeks ago with that major outbreak. it is impossible to tell everybody in every place, but you have to be aware, watch the tv, know when those warnings are coming. sirens were sounded twice. certainly we see that in joplin and sirens are sounded. what can you do? there's only so much you can do and put it out there in so many ways and pray. >> and pray. alexandra, thank you. we'll get back to you. >> and the city of joplin had been hit before. earlier this month, joplin marked a grim anniversary. it was 40 years ago that a massive tornado struck also in the center of town, also at dinnertime. one man was killed that day. nearly 50 people injured. sadly, it seems like this latest storm will be another one for the history books. jim spellman in joplin this morning. >> reporter: everyone here in joplin, there are cars stacked, strewn about everywhere. the xs from quick search and rescue that were done last
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night. they're going to be coming and doing more of the searches now. you see these everywhere. they're all over joplin. >> we'll go live to jim in just about four minutes. plus, we'll have more coverage of this incredibly deadly storm from someone who lived through it. [ male announcer ] you've climbed a few mountains during your time. and having a partner like northern trust -- one of the nation's largest wealth managers -- makes all the difference. our goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs and overseen by experts who seek to maximize opportunities while minimizing risk. after all, you don't climb a mountain just to sit at the top. you lookround for other mountains to climb. ♪ expertise matters. find it at northern trust.
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this morning, each passing hour seems to bring grim new discoveries in joplin, missouri. the death toll from last night's tornado now stands at 89, but that number's almost certain to climb. as much as 30% of the city wiped out. emergency crews are checking the wreckage of some 2,000 homes and businesses that have been virtually destroyed. the tornado ripped through the heart of the city, and the very core of the community. a high school, a walmart, home depot, all severely damaged or destroyed. but there may be no loss greater than st. john's regional medical center. and that's where jim spellman is standing by. jim? >> reporter: yeah, good morning to you, carol. st. john's regional medical center, the exact place where people need to go during a disaster, took a direct hit. they had to evacuate everybody. they have a small, temporary triage center, but that's it.
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it's one of the many challenges they're facing here as they try to recover. they're doing a door-to-door grid search. a lot of obstacles, power lines are down, gas lines are broken and they're fighting fires. and even some of the first responders themselves affected. the fire chief here, his home destroyed last night while he was at his son's graduation. really what struck me the most, carol, is the scope of this. it's not just one neighborhood, block after block, mile after mile of destruction. of cars tossed everywhere, buildings destroyed and leveled, trees pulled up -- uprooted and just tossed about. this is a devastating storm. it's by far the worst i've ever seen, carol. >> can you tell us some more of what happened inside that hospital? they had probably some warning that a tornado was about to hit. i know that the doctors and nurses and emergency personnel moved the patients into the hallways, but what happened after that?
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>> reporter: we haven't gotten all the details of it yet, but the amount of damage this took is unbelievable. we've seen a lot of doctors and nurses running around, still trying to be sure everyone's asked and out of the area and in some place that is safe and has electricity where they can get the treatment they want. a really interesting indicator, even the medevac helicopter is destroyed on the held pepad. these doctors, nurses, and medical professionals had an unbelievable task, and when we get all the details, i'm sure we'll hear of some tremendous heroism last night, carol. >> i'm sure. and most of the patients were transported to a hospital nearby that's up and running. that's a bit of bright news, i guess. i don't know. i'm trying to find every positive sign i can to throw at people. thanks so much. doug hunt's been out on the streets of joplin, he's seen some of this devastation up close, he's a joplin resident and lived through the storm. he joins us on the phone to talk
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about that. so when the storm was coming in, where were you? >> hi, carol. we had just got through grocery shopping and i've got a nephew who has a nice basement, so we drove over there and, you know, when the sirens went off, we knew that it was coming, because we could see the hail, and when the straight-line winds hit, you know, i worked in tv for ten years, so i knew what i was witnessing. what i was witnessing was all of that rush of wind being sucked into the vortex. so we knew it was close. and it felt like it was a lot closer and we were two miles away. but then later on, we were able to drive down and rescue some people. and we're all in shock. >> well, tell me about that. so you're in the basement, the storm passes over, and i would assume that the house you are in survived the storm. so you go out into the neighborhood and what do you
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see? >> you know, we had some people posting on facebook that people were trapped and, you know, a couple of my buddies and i, we hopped in the pickup truck and just drove south and decided we were going to help any way we could. and we were able to rescue a woman out of her apartment complex behind the walmart that had been destroyed. and then after that, we went over to the area where the high school had been destroyed, and just, you know, we were just screaming into the rubble, trying to find people. >> the woman you pulled out of the apartment, was she trapped under debris? describe that to us? >> no, actually not. she was fine. she just needed to get some of her belongings out and, you know, we literally were looking for somebody to help. and boom, there she was in front of us. and we were able to get all of her stuff and her dog and her two cats in the truck and loaded
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her up and was able to get her to a hotel. >> so as you see your city in the light of day, what goes through your mind? >> first of all, deep gratitude. i know that sounds crazy because we've got a lot of people who have died, but this city is a resilient city. and i'll tell you, it was very humbling, all through the night, nobody could sleep, but we could hear emergency vehicles driving in from areas hundreds of miles away. so it's a sad time for our city, but at the same time, we're thankful for the people who are coming together and helping. >> and you're one of those people. doug hunt, thank you so much for joining us this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you. >> cnn crews are in joplin, missouri, gathering the latest information from the tornado zone. stay with us. our next update is just two minutes away. also, other news ahead,
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rescue crews right now are searching for survivors still trapped in joplin, missouri, some 14 hours after a tornado struck. the tornado cut through the center of the city of 50,000 people. there are reports of at least 89 people killed.
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2,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. the city's main hospital was evacuated after a facade of the building was blown out. the tornado overturned at least ten tractor-trailers and scattered debris 70 miles away. checking other top stories for you now. president obama has arrived in ireland and is meeting with irish liters this morning. later, mr. obama will visit the city of moneygall, the home of some of his irish ancestors. there are no indications that rumors of the death of mullah omar are true. earlier, an afghan security official said the leader of the afghan taliban has disappeared in the past five days and may be dead. he said senior taliban members have confirmed they cannot contact the taliban leader. those two u.s. hikers being held in iran have been allowed to phone home. their families say both men sound reasonably well, but they say they learn the men went on a hunger strike to protest withheld letters from home. the men are being held on suspicions of espionage which
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both they and the u.s. government strongly deny. u.s. police have arrested a man call the primary aggressor. giovanni ramirez is being held on $1 million bail. the march 31st attack put san francisco giants fan bryan stow in a coma from which he has not recovered. former minnesota governor tim pawlenty makes it official today, he is jumping into the race for the republican nomination for president. he'll make the announcement in iowa, home to the critical iowa caucuses. missouri's governor will join me in the news room. at least 89 have been killed by that deadly tornado that ripped through the state, and now there is a desperate search for people who need help so that number doesn't grow higher. coming up, governor jay nixon. also coming up, tallying the damage, power lines knocked down, homes devastated, trees uprooted, a tornado's path is usually estimated by the billions of dollars. details on that after the break.
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at least 89 are dead in joplin, missouri, after a tornado cut through the heart of the city. rescue crews still searching for trapped survivors. 2,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. the tornado touching down around dinnertime last night and it left a path of destruction a half to three quarters mile
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wide. witnesses spoke of vehicles being picked up and thrown into homes and parts of the city now unrecognizable. watch and listen to this team of storm chasers as they arrive on the scene just moments after that tornado touched down. >> this is bad. oh, my gosh. this is awful. this is -- look at that! that is destroyed! completely. where are you going? what are you doing? what are you doing? well, i'm freaking out too! this is ridiculous. look at that! yeah, i don't know where -- >> this was an f-4 or f-5. >> this was -- dude! the trees! the trees are debarked. scott! scott! scott, the trees are -- just follow my -- what are you doing -- oh, power line? well, whatever. >> we're doing to turn around,
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guys. >> oh, my gosh. all right, well, just pull in next to -- >> there's propane and gas -- >> yeah, i can smell it too. >> i smell gas, mike. >> oh, my gosh. that is freaking ridiculous. >> cnn's brian todd is outside of st. john's regional medical center, that's joplin's main hospital. it also took a direct hit from this tornado. brian, you're in the town, and when we say that it's affected the heart of this community, the tornado seemed to travel right down 20th street, that went right through the heart of the town. is that right? >> reporter: it is, carol. it moved west to east, right through the center of town. right on to this medical center. you can see the facade of the building, but i want to show you something else. look. look at these clouds, look at the difference between the sky over there and look at the sky over here. we've got another storm system brewing. and it's amazing how dark the clouds are, turning day into night, as we speak. this is what people here are really concerned about. this is, you know, kind of similar to the conditions that
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people saw before this tornado struck. so we may have to take some cover pretty soon. it did come down in the heart of the city, 25 to 30% of this city was severely, severely damaged. so the destruction that you see, that's how much of the city was affected by that. we've got stuff blowing around here. looks like it's starting again pretty soon. look at this car over here. look at the damage that it sustained. this is a suzuki, maybe an suv or a station wagon or something, you can't even tell. look at the wreckage, a telephone pole fell on top of it. all sorts of debris in the back of it. this kind of scene is roadwepea over and over and over again. we're getting some severe weather right here, so we may have to -- >> brian, take cover, will ya, because you're making me nervous. let's head right over to alexandra steele. >> this is the whole picture of the storm. that's what it looks like with the storm system coming in. those clouds thickening and lowering. there are no tornado warnings
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for where he is, but you can see right now, this is the radar picture. of course, we have a severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning for joplin. when you look at the radar, you can see heading right now, right into joplin. what's most interesting about it, you can see it kind of bowing out. it looks like a bow. what we're seeing there are winds about 60 miles per hour. also, hail has been reported, about quarter-sized with this. it is moving east, pretty rapidly right now. but you can see where the heaviest rain is. of course, this area does not need anymore rain in addition to the severe weather. so right now in and around joplin, heading towards springfield, we are seeing 50 to 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts. and the hail the biggest threat, as is some very big downpours. so once again, we're in the line, doesn't look like tornadic activity, but of course, we do have some storms. also talking about the importance and the timeline of storms. tornado warnings, tornado watches, of course, tornado warnings meaning tornado is imminent. it has been spotted, either by eyes, or, of course, by doppler radar. also, severe thunderstorm
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warnings. all put out by the national weather service. and what we've seen, which is so different than even 10 and 20 years ago, and even seven years ago, the timeline and the amount of time you're given to take shelter. which really has been key in terms of the number of fatalities that we've seen. of course, last week, tuscaloosa, remember, over 300 people killed in alabama with this. which was really quite surprising. they had a 30-minute warning. but even one week in advance, meteorologists here, of course, at cnn, and even local meteorologists talking about that severe weather was brewing and that ingredients were coming together right then and right there and in that timeline for tornadoes and severe weather. so you kind of know the setup, and we'll talk about the setup a little later in the show next hour. what is the setup? how does it happen, of course, in may, and april, and june, the most severe weather knnotorious happens. but yesterday in joplin, they did have 20-minute warnings. of course, you can see the pictures there, just
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devastating. and of course, what you've seen, of course, cars being thrown. the devastation, of course, even in the building welcomes and the ground being ripped up. so tornado warnings in the old days used to come out after a tornado was spotted. what good did that do? right now on average, we have a 13-minute in advance warning. what has been unbelievable and so remarkable, carol, is in 1974, that was really the tornado outbreak super cell, storms that really set the benchmark. with over 300 people killed. but you wouldn't think in this day and age you would see that, of course, with the 30-minute lead time. and in the early '90s, the advent of doppler radar, meteorologists can look inside the radar and see what's happening. so what's most surprising? the fatalities and numbers this these big areas. >> i think, sadly, one of the things that happened, meteorologists can hand out all the warnings they want, and the tornado sirens can go off, but unless people heed the warnings, some people are going to get hurt. >> that's right. joplin has had tornadoes before,
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sirens did go off in time, they had ample warning, but even in tuscaloosa, over 300 people in the alabama area killed only over two weeks ago and they had sirens go off too. this has only so much you can do. >> and a lot of people there lived in trailers. so where can you go? >> right. and the topography and the quality of the homes being built in that specific and minute area, which is so hard to pinpoint. alison kosik is as the new york stock exchange. alison, is there any indication yet of the economic losses these record number of tornados have caused? >> carol, before i get to the economic worries in joplin, just want the mention, we are watching a sell-off here in the markets. the dow right now down 155 points on new worries about debt problems in greece, italy, and spain. all right. back to joplin. of course, if the past is any indication, carol, the economic losses in joplin are expected to be big.
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the national atmospheric and oceanic administration says the price tag can end up varying widely depending how severe the storm is and where it hits. joplin is a very densely populated area, which usually means higher costs. it's been a terrible year for severe weather. we've seen a record-setting number of storms, five severe weather outbreaks just in april. insurance company eon says damage is estimated to be $4 billion in insured losses. we haven't seen insured losses in april in that high in at least five years, and this doesn't even count what happened in joplin yesterday. of course, all the damage counts, damage to homes, businesses, what's inside them, their cars, and analysts say this means you can see higher insurance rates, likely, because of in these hard-hit areas, those insurance rates could go up. and we're just now entering the
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peak of the severe weather season, so this could just be the very beginning. >> alison kosik, thank you. we're getting the late st o the deadly missouri tornado, jay nixon will be in the newsroom. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. and more. if you replace 3 tablespoons of sugar a day with splenda®
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the search is on in joplin, missouri, for victims of that huge tornado. the path of destruction was more than a half mile wide. dozens of buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed. missouri's governor's jay nixon joins me now. thank you, governor, for joining me. >> good morning. >> first of all, i understand the president has called you. what did he say? >> they pledged all of the support that we could ever need. and also, he and the first lady passed their prayers to all missouri missouria missourians, especially those in joplin. we've had a number of folks who have been killed, the number continues to rise, but we still believe there are people to be rescued. that's why we brought down task force one, the kansas city heavy risk, we're working hard to make sure that survivors are found. >> so they're going door to
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door, through neighborhoods, looking for any sign of movement. >> and we also brought down, like i say, the heavy rescue. the number of buildings down approaches around 2,000. we also -- the other challenge we have, if you look at the weather now, we've got a significant storm coming in any minute. folks are taking cover now. that should hopefully get through in the next 45 minutes to an hour, but we look for another storm to come through with significant lightning, rain, and other problems, which will hamper the efforts to dig out those that are living underneath the rubble. >> i know with all the debris on the ground and the winds whipping up the debris, that would be dangerous for anyone. you also said that there are fires breaking out throughout joplin. have the fires -- are the fires under control now? >> we're back to -- the good thing is, we've got water pressure back for the firefighters a few hours ago. that's helped. but the gas leaks that come from these situations, there's still a number of challenges there. we have gotten those fires down from what they were a few hours
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ago, but the bottom line, our focus now is making sure that those that are hurt get medical care. with the hospital being knocked out, we're having to bring folks in from spiringfield. and then to get with our national guard, task force one, search and rescue, and make sure we do a thorough sweep. >> so are emergency workers and doctors setting up temporary hospitals throughout the city? >> yes, they are. we have shelters that we opened up last night in missouri southern for folks. we also have temporary hospitals. also, because of the communication challenges, last night i moved down the highway patrol command trucks so we could have communication between law enforcement. so while cell coverage is spotty, we do have good, solid communication so the first responders are down there and can act in a coordinated fashion to search and hopefully rescue people that are still inside the rubble. >> is there an update on the number of those killed? >> we have -- i do not have an update, over the last hour and
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15 minutes. earlier on, they had confirmed somewhere around 89, but we expect that number to rise with the amount of debris, the significant buildings that are down, and -- so we expect that number to rise. >> governor nixon, thank you so much for taking time out of what must be a very busy and chaotic day to speak with us. >> a long night, yeah. we'll continue to update you on the rescue and recovery efforts in joplin. we'll reset for you after the break. and we'll take a look at the emergency response and the role of the missouri national guard troops that have now been mobilized. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪
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at least 89 people dead after a tornado strikes joplin, missouri. that number is expected to rise. missouri national guard troops are assisting local rescue crews to free people trapped in flattened homes and buildings. the twister tossed cars, it overturned tractor-trailers, the city's main hospital was evacuated. it took a direct hit. x-rays from that hospital were found 70 miles away. another facility heavily damaged was joplin high school. the principal, kerry sketka joins us by phone.
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thank you for joining us. >> no problem. >> you just finished with graduation? >> we just finished with graduation at our local university, which is just out of the way of the storm, and kids were going towards project graduation or back home to get ready for project graduation or for parties with their families and that's when the storm hit. >> so when did you first see the high school and what it looked like today? >> we stayed at missouri southern for about 45 minutes, because the people that were kind of left there after the ceremony that hadn't made it out yet, we went to the basement during the storm, and as i drove closer to the high school, i started getting text messages from people who were saying that the high school was hit, and i couldn't believe it. as i got closer to the school, the whole -- station -- the swath of the tornado was just incredible. and franklin technology center, a career center just next to joplin high, was completely destroyed. you can't even recognize it.
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and then i saw the high school and it's just a total loss. so the high school itself, there's nothing left? is it flattened? >> no, there's exterior walls, you can see. it kind of likened to the oklahoma city bombing, if you remember those pictures from the site. it looks like the sides of the building and the two major halls that one north and south are just obliterated on the outside and a lot of windows gone. ceilings are gone, numerous parts of the school and my office area and also the gym looks like it's -- the gym looks like the best part of the building, but you can't tell what's in the ceiling, but the ceiling of the auditorium, the roof of the auditorium is gone, band rooms, vocal rooms, music and all that, you can see in them. so i walked around as much as i could to see it and it just looks like it's just been bombed from the outside in. it's just terrible. >> are kids still in school or are they gone for the summer? do you have graduation coming up at the school?
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>> well, we just had our graduation for our seniors, but we did have nine more days of school for the, you know, the freshman, sophomores, and juniors. and then the rest of the school district also had nine more days of school. so, yeah, obviously, going to e rest of the school term. >> so you're left to figure this out now, right? >> right. our superintendent's calling a press conference at 10:00 a.m. central, and he's going to talk about where the district is going -- the district office was also heavily damaged. so at least our school and franklin technology center and i've heard reports that at least one elementary and possibly another middle school's damaged. he'll be talking with that at 10:00 a.m. central here in joplin. and what we're going to do there. >> of course, many of your students are probably dealing with similar stuff at home, with their homes either being destroyed or damaged by this tornado. >> exactly. my son goes to school at joplin high. and he's got multiple texts from
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kids, friends of his, who lost their homes or been displaced. the tornado went through all different parts of joplin. so church, businesses, large housing additions, you know, main part of town, it's just big businesses like home depot and walgreens and all kind of stores on range line which is a major thoroughfare, just devastated. >> so right now are all of your students accounted for? >> we haven't been able to tell. we have not heard yet of any students that we've lost. but we're -- i know that we just talked to central office folks, and they're compiling lists of people that they know that lost homes and that kind of thing. that was the question i was asked, but i have not got word that we lost any students as of yet. thankfully, hopefully that won't hope. >> i hope so, too. mr. sachetta, thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it. >> okay. thank you. and stay with us this morning.
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we have continuing coverage of the deadly tornado that tore through joplin including a look at what the national guard is doing to help. [ male announcer ] humble beginnings are true beginnings. they are the purest way to gauge success. ♪ maybe the only way to gauge success. but the most powerful thing about humble beginnings is that they are... ♪ ...humbling. ♪ show where you're going without forgetting where you're from. ♪
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the search is on in joplin
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for victims of a huge tornado. we've been talking about that all morning. the path of destruction was more than a half mile wide, hundred of buildings have been damaged or destroyed. missouri's governor mobilized the national guard as soon as he saw the scope of the tornado disaster. most of the troops on the ground are locals from southwest missouri. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, has details on what they'll be doing. hi, barbara. >> good morning, carol. nearly 150 national guard troops from missouri now on duty in the ravaged area, and officials are telling us that number could grow in the coming hours. their number-one job right now as the governor just indicated is search and rescue. they do believe there are people out there to be rescued, and they are part of the group going house to house looking for -- wreckage to wreckage looking for anybody that they can rescue, they are also helping provide communications, we are told, because so many basic services are down in the area.
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we asked about the possibility of a field hospital not right now -- overnight they evacuated the two hospital in the alaska, sent patients to other nearlyby hospitals. and there are -- nearby hospitals. there are triage units set up, they don't think they need more help now. if they find a large number of survivors that could change. i think one of the questions people always ask with the national guard deployed to the war zone, are there enough back home to lend a hand? the missouri national guard has about 11,000 troops currently at home, they believe that they will be able to handle it, of course, using what they have on hands. but they provide those extra boots on the ground to help the city, to help fema, to lend whatever help they can in cases like this. caro carol? >> the other question is who pays for this. state budgets are strapped, stretched to the limit. >> absolutely. this is a growing issue around the country. when you talk to governors, when you talk to national guard
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commanders, what have we seen lately? you know, the floods in the midwest along the mississippi. constant brush fires out in the west. tornadoes in the southeast. it seems like we're always talking about the guard being activated. a lot of times they are starting to ask for federal reimbursement. it doesn't always come. there's an effort to try and get the states to pay for it, but this is a growing issue, as you say, carol, with the state budget so stretched. who is going to pay for all this crisis cleanup? >> barbara starr, many thanks. live from the pentagon. some of the most dramatic video of the tornado was shot by someone right in the middle of it. isaac duncan caught the sheer terror about 20 customers trapped in a joplin convenience store when the tornado hit. they'll join me in the next hour. at bayer, we've been relieving pain for over 100 years. and today, we're re-inventing aspirin for pain relief. with new extra-strength bayer advanced aspirin. it has microparticles so it enters the bloodstream faster
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it is the heart of tornado alley. this morning the devastation in joplin, missouri, is shocking. take a look why. at least 89 people are confirmed dead. the number expected to grow. as much as 30% of the city is damaged or destroyed, that includes some 2,000 homes and businesses. one of those -- one of the buildings damaged, st. john's regional medical center, in the heart of town. triage centers were set up outside to treat the crush of victims. now those are the terrible facts. it is difficult to describe the
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terror people felt. what you're about to very a group of people inside a convenience store as the tornado hit. they're huddled together and praying. much of this video was dark. but listen -- [ wind blowing and crying ] [ all talking at once ] >> god? god! >> oh! [ yelling ] [ crying ] >> we're good.
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we're good. >> oh, my god! [ screams ] [ muffled voices ] >> jesus. jesus. jesus. >> i love everyone. i love everyone, man. >> we're okay. >> i love you. >> jesus, jesus, jesus. heavenly father. [ all talking at once ] >> stay down.
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[ all talking at once ] >> is everyone okay? >> i'm right here. i'm okay. >> i'm on someone -- >> someone's on my back. >> all of those people survived. and i know it's cliche, but the people in that convenience store were lucky. look at what the tornado left behind. mangled cars and homes, you'll see the pictures in a moment. awful destroyed or badly damaged a walmart, home depot, a high school, and hospital. brian todd outside st. john's regional hospital. there you see the damage. it's unbelievable. actually brian todd is inside of a vehicle now because dark storm clouds are on the horizons, and the winds are strong. brian, tell us about it. >> reporter: yeah, when i spoke to you last hour, it was just rolling in on us. and we finished our live shot just in time to take cover. it's -- it rained very, very heavily a moment ago, it's still raining. the clouds are darker than i've ever seen clouds during the daytime. it really is extraordinary. people here are fearful of this kind of thing because i heard a
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couple people tell us earlier that these are similar conditions that they saw yesterday when the tornado rolled in. it is a scene of sheer devastation here outside st. john's regional medical center where they took a direct hit from the concern yesterday. you know, x-rays from this hospital were found 70 miles away in dade county, missouri. that tells you just the extent of this tornado. about a half mile to three quarters of a mile wide in scope. it tore down the center of joplin, missouri, basically from west to east. it took aim directly on this town and hit it dead center. 25% to 30% of the city experienced severe damage. 89 confirmed deaths. that death toll very likely to go up. and now they're just trying to comb through the wreckage here and trying to find some survivors who may be penned in. but now the weather is really complicating thing and making it much more difficult, carol. >> yeah. i'm glad you took cover. right outside the hospital that was badly damaged. we'll go to our weather center
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meteorologist, alexandera steele. the winds are whipping up. the search and rescue crews are on pause waiting for this thing to pass. >> yeah. it's unfortunate. of all the times now to have this kind of really hindering the effort. and unfortunately we're not going -- we're not going to see what we saw yesterday. we're seeing strong winds and hail but tornadic activity isn't as likely. there are no tornado warnings. it is scary. he said he'd never seen such dark clouds. we are seeing clouds coming from the west. they're thickening, lowering. we've got two rounds. here's the radar picture. and you see what's happening, this is the bow echo, and you see the red over joplin dropping south-southeast at about 45 miles per hour. what that is is the winds push, a door opening, pushing so fast that that's where the strongest winds are. winds 60, 70 miles per hour. that's one of the culprits with this. also what we're seeing kind of the worst out of these storms, about quarter-size hail or so. and some incredibly heavy rain.
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flash flooding a potential. this is the line moving through right now, buffalo on the back side of this, you can see there's a little break meaning the rain won't be as heavy. we're not seeing the hail cores there. further west, another line will move through just minutes later. so that's the current setup. but you know, we talked about what we're seeing now, and how bad is it. well this year obviously, it has been an incredibly deadly year. certainly a record-breaking year. when you look at the big picture, the average month tornado frequency, obviously may and june certainly the strongest. in april, though, on average, 185, we had over 500 tornadoes. thp has been an incredibly deadly and potent year. april actually in the historybooks being the deadliest, not only this april but april of '74 with over 300 deaths. how does d -- how did this happen? this is the scenario. all this warm, moist air coming up, colder, dryer air here in
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the bulls eye, joplin. 48 tornado reports. at the very least we've got the potential today once again for this severe setup. isolated tornadoes, hail and winds really the biggest threat for today. we'll talk more about the threat for today and tonight coming up in a bit. >> all right. thank you. residents of joplin have been helping each other since the tornado hit. doug hunt, one of the residents of joplin, i talked with him last hour about going out in a pickup truck. he actually rescued a woman who was trapped in her apartment complex. but hunt was actually more moved by the efforts of others coming from far away to lend a helping hand. >> we've got a lot of people that have died, and this city is a resilient city. and i tell you it was very humbling all through the night -- nobody could sleep, but we could hear emergency vehicles driving in from areas hundred of miles away. so it's a sad time for our city, but at the same time, you know,
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we're thankful for the people that are coming together and helping. >> that's what it's all about. hunt said that people have been posting on facebook to get the word out about those people still trapped. those people who need help and people are coming to their rescue. still ahead, we'll go to the ground zero of the tornado to see its incredible force firsthand. >> reporter: everywhere here in joplin there are cars stacked, strewn about everywhere. the axis from quick search and rescue that was done last night, they're going to be doing more thorough searches now. you see these everywhere. they're all over joplin. >> that was jim spellman. he's live in joplin obviously. actually, we'll go to him live coming up. and somewhere in all that rubble, a brown wooden deck sits untouched. it's all that's left of one man's family home. ♪
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[♪...] >> male announcer: book now, save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. here's the latest out of joplin, missouri. we know right now that 8 the people are dead from last night's tornado. that number is almost certain to climb, that's what the governor told us moments ago. governor also said as much as it 0% of the city may be completely -- 30% of the city may be completely wiped out. heavy rain is falling and strong winds are blowing so we believe that the search and rescue team
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sent in to help, to look for survivors have put on hold until that storm dies down. our next guest is one of the people who will now have to rebuild his life. tom rogers was inside his house as the storm ripped it apart. this deck all that's left of his home. he has spent the morning with his daughter walking through their neighborhood and witnessing the damage. tom rogers joins us by phone. thank you, tom, for joining us. i know this is -- i can't imagine what you're going through, frankly. >> caller: it's something that you would -- even watching a movie, you can't describe the devastation that you see. everything is just completely gone. it's -- it's surreal. >> take us back to last night when you knew that storm was going to hit. what did you do? >> we had the tornado siren go off once. and we began to just go outside and kind of see what was going on because it looked like it was going to the north of us. it was the second time that we got another round of tornado sirens and we turned the
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television on and saw what looked like -- it definitely was coming toward us. we look -- live down in the value a bit and didn't feel in danger until i looked outside and noticed how black the sky got. to be honest with you, since my daughter was with me, that was the reason why we took shelleder. normally for myself -- shelter. normally for myself, i would just ride it out. she saved my life as much as she was taken care of, as well. we went into a small bath that was underneath my stairwell. and that's when the winds really started to pick up, and i just cannot describe to you that sound, that freight train sound that everyone describes. it is absolutely real. she was actually -- she was squatted down, i was covering her. i was trying to hold the door because at that points i knew that everything around us was gone. the stairwell was all that we really had above us. >> tom, we're looking at a picture of your house, and it's completely flattened. so i'm just wondering how y'all
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survived. >> it -- it's by the grace of god, absolutely. we were in prayer the entire time it was going on. i felt like really honestly that we were making -- we were in our last seconds here. i mean, absolutely. and we were just praying for god to take us quickly, without pain. and then all of a sudden the freight train noise started to go away, and we saw just a little bit of light from underneath a little bit of rubble that was left. we were still caught underneath. >> so the storm has passed. is it now quiet? >> this was the part that was really, really tough because once we were able to crawl ourselves out, we could hear cries and screams for help. the part that was difficult is then we began to get hail and we began to get lightning and we began to get a really heavy rain. the lightning was actually zapping around the ground around us. and i instructed as many people as i could, i had to get one person out who was trapped under a washer and dryer, my neighbor.
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his legs were trapped. i instructsed everybody to get to their cars because it was really the only safe place to get away from the lightning. unfortunately, the cars were all completely full of debris and there were no windows in the cars. it was very difficult even after that difficult situation and having to see what you had seen, to try to find shelter from, you know, the hail and the lightning and everything that came afterward. >> i just had this awful picture that you're all just standing there looking at what's left of your life, while the rain pours down and the lightning strikes. and you don't know where to go. >> i think it's amazing this response and that you're happy that you have one another and you know that everything that you have is an absolutely -- can absolutely be replaced. and so we know that -- god said it wasn't time, and i just ask that, you know, that there be many prayers for those that are out there now that are suffering far worse than we are now. >> so you went back to the
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neighborhood today with your child just to survey the damage. and what's next? >> well, absolutely -- last night was actually when we did the survey. this morning we ended up about midnight getting into home with some friends. trying to get some rest. but, you know, at this point there's really not much to do because of the weather that we have going on. at this point with as much as going on, you're just not sure where to start. >> tom rogers, thank you very much for joining us. good luck to you. >> all right. thank you very much. >> thanks, tom. i believe we have live pictures of president obama who is in ireland right now. this is in modobal. supposedly president obama has relatives here and supposedly he's going to meet some of those relatives later in the day. we'll keep you posted on when that happens. of course early this morning, president obama and the first lady called on the governor of
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missouri to express their condolence for what happened to the town after that tornado. of course the president pledging to help in any way he can. fema is already on the way to joplin, missouri. but as you can see, in ireland right now, only happy moments for the president and the first lady. we'll get back to ireland when more happens and pass along to you when the president meets his long, lost relatives. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪ [ female announcer ] wake up to sweetness with honey nut cheerios cereal. kissed with real honey.
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in other top stories, president obama is in ireland and at the home of relatives in moneygall. earlier he met with irish ancestors including the president and prime minister. a nato official telling us that there is no indication that taliban leader mullah omar is dead. earlier a report said the leader of the afghan taliban disappeared over the past five days and may be dead. he's said senior taliban members have confirmed they cannot contact omar. those two u.s. hikers being held in iran have been allowed to phone home. their families say both men sound reasonably well but say they learned the men went on a hunger strike to protest withheld letters from home. the men are being held on suspicion offies peaage which both -- of espionage which both deny. former governor tim pawlenty makes it official, he is jumping into the republican race for nomination for president. he'll make the announcement in
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iowa, home to the critical iowa caucuses. los angeles police are holding a man they call the primary aggressor in the assault of a san francisco giants fan. the arrest comes seven weeks after bryan stow, father of two, was beaten outside of dodgers stadium. stow remains in critical condition. cnn's thelma gutierrez is in los angeles for us. thelma, anything more on the search for other suspects? >> reporter: carol, los angeles police are now focusing their manhunt on a second suspect who they say also took part in the vicious beating of 42-year-old bryan stow. police are asking for the public's help in identifying the woman who was scene driving the men away from dodger stadium in a light four-door sedan. the arrest of giovanni ramirez, the man police are describing as the primary aggressor, is a huge score for the lapd. they had assigned 20 detectives full time to the case. ramirez was taken into custody early sunday morning in los angeles for assault with a
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deadly weapon and is being held on $1 million bail. police received more than 600 leads but got their break late last week when a parole officer gave detectives information on ramirez who was arrested at the department in east hollywood. now the motive for the attack, detectives say, ramirez and a second suspect who were wearing dodger attire, began tauntsing bryan stow who was wearing a giants shirt as he left the stadium with his friends after the opening day game. now as they walked away, police say they were jumped. stow, paramedic and father of two, was knocked to the ground and beaten. stow is in critical condition. he sustained a serious skull fracture and brain injury in the attack. now there is a $250,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. carol? >> are people still afraid to go to the games at dodger stadium? >> reporter: carol, they've definitely had a bumpy start. attendance is down. the attack on opening day forced the dodgers to come up with a
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tighter security plan. they have extra officers. they've now put out extra stadium lighting. and they've had to cancel some of their alcohol promotions. but it's just one of the controversies that dodgers have had to contend with so far this season. as i mentioned, ticket sales are down, and the team's owners are going through a nasty public divorce. they've come under fire for misusing dodger money. and as a result of that, the league has had to take over the team's management. it's definitely been a tough road for the dodgers. >> at least there's been an arrest. hopefully more to come soon. thelma gutierrez live from los angeles. scenes of devastation from joplin, missouri. at least 89 are dead after a tornado cut through the heart of the city. we'll take threw next. and the possibility of another storm hitting joplin this morning leaves the threat of debris becoming projectiles.
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as if joplin, missouri, hasn't suffered enough, it is raining hard. the rain is likely to continue for some time. of the wind is also whipping up debris. and that's after last night when a terrible tornado struck. listen to what a couple of storm chaser said about it. >> okay. you're going to go down a little
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bit. just go. just if. okay. just a little bit -- oh, my gosh. it's right there. just -- just go slow. if slow, it's going to cross the road right there. it's going to cross the road. oh, gosh. >> okay. got it. oh, my gosh. >> oh, my gosh. there it is. there it is. oh, gosh. that is a monster tornado. get back up and go to that road over there. >> akevin, i'm off the road so dish. >> okay, oh, my gosh. >> sorry -- >> not you. god -- okay, go down the road a little bit. just go, just go. okay. just a little bit, you can see -- oh, my gosh. it's right there. >> it was a huge tornado that cut through the heart of the city. as far as we know there are 89 people who are killed. that number could grow, that's what the governor told us a short time ago, more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. we're talking about major buildings like a huge walmart,
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damaged or destroyed. also a home depot destroyed. st. john's regional medical center, severely damaged. unusable right now. cnn's brian todd was standing outside the regional medical center. he filed this report moment ago before the rain came down. >> reporter: can see the facade of the building. look, look at these clouds. look at the difference between the sky over there and look at the sky over here. we've got another storm system brewing. and it's amazing how dark the clouds are, turning day into night as we speak. this is what people here are really concerned about. this is, you know, similar to the conditions that people saw before this tornado struck. we may have to take some cover pretty soon. it did come down the heart of the city, 25 to 30% of this city was severely, severely damaged. so the destruction that you see, that's how much of the city was affected by that. we've got stuff floating around here, it's starting again soon. look at this car here, look at the damage that it sustained. this is a suzuki, maybe suv or
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station wagon. you can't even tell. look at the wreckage. a telephone pole fell on top of it. there's debris in the back there. there kind of scene is repeated over and over and over again. and we -- we're getting severe weather now. we may have to break off. >> take cover because you're making me nervous. take cover, okay? yeah. he heeded my advice. he's still taking cover now because hail is coming down, there is lightning in the area. it is quite nasty. let's head to the weather center and alexandra steele. >> you're telling brian to take cover, and he did. one good thing, won't to have tornado watches or warnings, but we have the threat of severe thunderstorms. with that the worst, worst thing are hail -- hail one, 1. 5, bigger than quarter-sized hail. and a billig factor, gusty wind. 60, 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts. no tornadoes reported, and again, no tornado warnings or
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watches. warnings being tornadoes are imminent or being seen by doppler radar, watches mean the atmospheres are ripe for tornadoes. we have that working in our favor. here's the current scenario. we were showing you the devastation from yesterday. but here's the rain, and of course the thunderstorms, there's springfield, missouri. of course the same area under the gun once again. but not to the severity that we saw yesterday. of course, this yellow box showing severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. again, this area poised for severe weather, which we are seeing. here's this line, we saw this right when brian was on, the heaviest, we saw the pictures of the dark clouds thickening, coming from the west. the strongest line you see delineated there in the red. you see this bow echo. bow echo meaning winds pushing very strongly. so winds really the biggest factor. there goes the first line. just about to get a little bit of a break. it will be raining, but lightly. on the back side, you see there are a few more strong storms pushing in. once this all moves through, we will be in the clear for a few hours. but you see this is just a
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little farther south. so joplin getting hit once again. you see that. and here are a few areas kind of in the range of it now. miami, joplin, carthage. there are report that i-44 is reopening but with the devastation and destruction, unbelievable. with the rain coming, hard to see the extents of the damage. and if the pictures we've seen and the fatalities we've seen, too, just devastating. >> yeah. yand we mentioned brian -- and we mentioned brian todd took cover. he's in a truck. we'll go to him. describe what it sounds like, you know, what the heavy rain sounds like coming down. >> reporter: well, it's a standard thunderstorm at the moment. but when it first rolled in, i saw you played the live shot. a couple seconds after that it was thunderous. it sounded like a freight train coming through here, and that's what they always tell you it sounds like when a tornado's it to hit. we did not experience another tornado. and i did that there were no
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tornado warnings in the area. so that's a positive thing for the people around here. but it does complicate the rescue effort. they're still trying to find people who might be trapped under the wreckage of houses, of cars, of other buildings, so it is -- it is a big problem. still raining, and they're watching for more thunderstorms that could roll into the area. >> it's sad, too, because there's already debris in the road. it's hard enough to get through to people who need help and now the rain and the hail and the lightning. >> that's right. and there's a -- you mentioned the debris. just in your field of vision, if you look, you know, 360 degrees around you, there is just several tons of debris to be seen everywhere. it complicates everything. you can't even walk ten feet. and -- but as part of that debris, there are downed power lines that you're always having to step over. it's very treacherous for everyone involved. >> brian todd, many thanks. jamie green is a photographer with the "wichita eagle." she was in joplin shooting a wedding for a friend. then she got into her car to drive away. and the tornado hit.
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>> i took this way before i shot any of the devastation. this was, i believe, when the tornado was about to happen. and then my friend was behind me, she said you should never stay in a car during a tornado. we didn't have options. we got out of the car. and we huddled down. it was -- my friend and i and her 6-year-old daughter, we huddled down over her daughter out in the elements, but up against a wall, up against an office building. our only other option would have been to throw a bench through the glass window which we actually thought of but we didn't -- we decided not to. so that was -- again, that video was taken i think maybe a minute or two before the tornado. >> we're glad jaime's okay, she also sent us several pictures of the devastation at st. john's hospital. you can find them on line. also happening this morning, president obama is in ireland to explore his irish roots.
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for more than that. he arrived in the town of moneygall. you're looking at live pictures outside the pub. actually these not -- these are the live pictures outside the pub. you see the people lining the streets. the president and the first lady are inside a pub right now. this is the first stop of a six-day, four-country european tour. we'll have that plus the day's other top stories coming up. nationwide insurance. talk to me. should i bundle all my policies with nationwide insurance ? watch this.
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you can never know the fury or fear that a fortune brings unless you've lived twlun. this next video brings us possibly as close as possible. it was shot inside a joplin convenience store about to take a direct hit. [ all talking at once ] >> the man who shots the video says everyone inside the store thought they were going to die. >> they said there was a tornado about a block away from us, and so we just pulled into the quickest thang we could see, which was that fast trip. when we went in, the electricity of already out. there were about 20 people in the back huddled down.
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and everyone was kind of just deciding what to do. and all of a sudden the glass in the front of the building just got sucked out. basically the only thing that was left standing was the cooler that we were in. everything -- everything around it was gone. you know, when -- it actually tore a few holes in the refrigerator. and so we climbed out of -- of one of the walls at the end of the refrigerator, and when we crawled out, you know, it was -- everything was just flattened. trees, houses, everything around there. me and my buddies, we -- after we talked about it, we decided one was like a strangely like peaceful feeling. and then after it passed, we were still sitting there for probably 30 minutes kind of trapped. trying to figure out what we should do. and so we just -- you know, eventually decided after we -- the gas pumps were starting to leak the gas, you could smell fumes really bad. and then we started to smell
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electrical fire. and so we decided to just -- the smartest thing would be to get out. we climbed out. tried to help the people out. >> amazing. there were 20 people hunkered down inside that walk-in refrigerator. all came out alive. and thanking god they did. president obama is in ireland. earlier this morning, he made a call to the governor of missouri to express his condolences. right now the president and the first lady, michelle obama, are in moneygall where president obama has long-lost relatives. we understands they're in a pub now. our ed henry is in dublin, ireland. tell us more. >> reporter: well, i think the president basically is putting the money in moneygall if you will. they are selling t-shirts and anything they can put the obama nightmare right now because as you know, he has some descendants there. his great, great, great grandfather on his mother's side. so you see in the live pictures they're lining the streets. a pretty small town.
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a few hundred people. they brought in people from neighboring enclaves to get a look at this. and i can tell you we hear people shouting to the president, welcome home, mr. president perks as he and the first lady -- mr. president, as he and the first lady were shaking hands, kissing babies. maybe reminiscent of an american campaign since there are, what, about 40 million irish americans back in the states. maybe a slight coincidence with 2012 coming up. but also in all seriousness a chance for the president to connect with some of his roots here in ireland. you mentioned that he's going to be going into a pub. pretty interesting that guinness, we're told, has sent over their master brewer to make sure and help make sure that whatever pint the president has is just perfect. he's going to be doing this at a pub called olly hayes pub. obama-mania sweeping through ireland. interesting because one of my favorite tidbits is they've built a reststop near in town, moneygall, along the motorway.
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and basically it's going to be a rest stop for food and fuel. and among the shops will be a little john's pizzeria that will be at the barack obama plaza. so papa john's -- it will be a papa john's pizza at the barack obama plaza. here you have an american pizza franchise serving quasi-italian food in ireland. doesn't get any better than this, carol. >> i think the guinness part's the best in my book. a question, though. we you is the president and mrs. obama in the middle of the crowd in moneygall. that was amazing stuff. >> reporter: uaw. you don't get to see the president do that very often, any president, for security reasons, obviously. i can tell you some of our producers who have been on the ground and here in dublin, there's obviously been intense security in the days ahead leading up to this. the town is in a virtual lockdown, if you will. it's safe for the president. the secret service was all around. you see some of them there. and you don't see him wade into
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a crowd quite like that very often, as you noted, unless you get closer to the campaign season. as you said, there aren't any votes in ireland, but there are an awful lot of irish american votes back there in the states. >> oh, you got that right. ed henry, thank you. we needed a bit of brightness. we like it. thank you, ed. coming up, we're going to take you back to joplin, missouri. our brian todd is outside of st. john's regional hospital. he talked to a minister whose church was hit by a tornado. car connection calls the xf,
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there are no tornado watches or warnings in joplin, missouri, and thank goodness for that after what happened last night. the rain is coming down. there is thunder and lightning, it's terrible. there was even heavy hail. the weather's so bad right now that search and rescue teams have called it quits for a time. they're looking for survivors. they'll resume the activity as soon as the storm passes by. brian todd was outside the hospital heavily damaged in the tornado last night. he talked to c.j. campbell, a minister whose church was hit by the tornado. here's what they had to say
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earlier. >> first the initial warning, the sirens went off 20 minutes earlier. and then again about ten minutes before it hit. it hit here at st. john's regional medical center on the west side of joplin metroplex about 5:45. it was traveling slowly but had f 4 force up to about 200 miles per hour, that evil, monster vortex. and my foster sister and i were completely surrounded by a collapsed 1,800 square-foot house within 60 seconds. first began the low roar in the distance. then it got louder and louder until sounded like about 50 semi
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trailer trucks fully laden going about 70 miles per hour about ten feet outside the front door. the floor began to vibrate, and then shake very violently. and seem league buckle, and we thought we were going to be sucked up the chimney. >> they were not. they survived. we'll have more coverage for you on joplin just ahead. let's look ahead and see what else is making news later today. house minority whip steny hoyer delivers a speech on the debt crisis coming up at 11:30 eastern. former minnesota governor tim pawlenty has scheduled a news conference for 12:30 eastern to officially announce he is running for the republican presidential nomination. that news conference being held in des moines, iowa. and in washington, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu will address members of the country's most powerful pro-israeli lobbying group. the speech is set for 9:15 eastern. president obama spoke yesterday.
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bethany schudi is an ireporter. she'll tell us what she saw after arriving at the st. john's regional medical center in joplin. she arrived shortly after the tornado struck. yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can now come from any faucet anywhere. introducing the brita bottle with the filter inside. [ laughs ] not funny. act my age? -why? -why? -why? i love the sun. past sun goddess. every line has a story. [ female announcer ] we all age differently. now there's roc multi-correxion 4 zone moisturizer with roc®retinol and antioxidants. a lifetime of stress lines, sun damage, and worry wrinkles will fade in just 4 weeks. -crows feet... -belong on birds. [ female announcer ] roc multi-correxion. correct what ages you. -aging... -bring it on.
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as we've been telling you, it's raining hard. thunderstorm, lightning in joplin, missouri. they're trying to recover from the deadly tornado that passed through at dinnertime last night. as far as we know, 89 people are dead. the governor says that number will probably rise. 2,000 buildings destroyed or partially destroyed, including the local high school. we just talked to the principle who said he's still trying to account for all of his students. still nine days of school left. he's trying to figure that out, too. so many stories of survival, lucky people including drew michael jordan with kade action news. he joins us live by phone. i understand your apartment complex was leveled. >> it was. i didn't get here until 11:30 yesterday evening, and it was a pretty -- a pretty grim dose of realty.
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>> where were you when the storm hit? >> frankly, by the grace of god i was at the station training. doing something -- as a matter of fact, the tornado started, we saw it form out the back of the station. and it wasn't until 30 machines later -- i've never seen a tornado before, i'm from detroit. it wasn't until 30 minutes later that the sirens -- use realized what it means. >> you realized you had to heed the warning. you're driving home and you see your apartment building leveled. what went through your mind? >> well, it was 11:30 at night. the first thing is people look for the gas station across the street or look for the driveway or, okay, my driveway is right after this building. frankly, carol, there were no visual cues, there was only lightning in the background in which illuminated what used to
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be structures. with the help of a friend it took three or four doors to zero on which apartment was mine. i went in, and i was able to pull up some stuff. but at the end of the day, i'm still alive to tell you the story. >> do you know if everyone in your apartment building made it ou out? >> i don't know, frankly. i was downtown, i was checking out our main street. when i was at the station after it happened, i know there were a number of emergency personnel on hand. i know there were a number of ambulances and fire trucks. and there were doors that were knocked in or crowbarred in. and i believe that they did everything they could. frankly, carol, with the devastation, i can't tell you that they would have been alive.
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>> so sad. i also understand that the people of joplin and there are outsiders coming to help. the spirit of the community is alive and well. >> well, you know, there's -- there's something about the spirit of the south. and especially in southwest missouri. when i was walking around downtown in what i would consider ground zero, i probably saw no less than 10 or 15 emergency, fire personnel, counties represented by cars and badges on their shoulder. and there were a lot of people frankly that didn't even get a call. they just knew to get this their car and to come in because nay knew we needed help. >> drew moore, thanks for telling your story. we appreciate it. >> you're welcome, carol. >> images of that destruction, residents saying the city of joplin looks like a war zone now, as you heard drew say. >> this is bad.
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oh, my gosh. this is awful. this is -- look at that. that is destroyed. completely. >> those are a couple of stormchasers. we'll also show you the moment of impact as that tornado roared through missouri. plus, a primary aggressor now in police custody after that brutal beating of a san francisco giants fan coming up. no matter what the market does e-trade can help. they've got strategies, screeners... [ sneezes ] bless you, peppers. ...24/7 customer support. anyway... [ sneezes ] you know peppers, i told you to get a flu shot. [ male announcer ] e-trade. investing unleashed.
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we're going to end on a happy note. there you see president obama and the first lady -- there she is in the foreground. and as you see there, they're drinking a guinness now in moneygall, ireland. that's after they visited their long-lost relatives. jim, the president has been well received in ireland. >> reporter: yes, they're thinking about adding an apostry after the first o -- >> in o'bama? >> reporter: yeah, talked about it for years now. the president drinking a guinness. you know, mixing it up with the locals at an irish pub, always a good place to find folks -- >> how long do you have --
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>> oops, sorry. >> 1930. >> 1930? >> 1931. and when my grandparents had to come across the road -- >> across the street? [ inaudible ] >> in 1930? so your grandparents had it and then so you're the fourth generation? >> yep. >> that's outstanding. >> but don't tell -- [ inaudible ] >> how many pubs are in town? >> two. >> is this a fierce competition? >> well, they were laughing, jim. so the president is showing a bit of irish humor. >> that's right. i don't know if you noticed that there but his pinky did go up when he tipped that pint back. perhap

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